Killzone: Shadow Fall - Intercept Review
As most of you know, I’m no great lover of multiplayer action. That being said, and despite my disappointment at the domination of the shooter genre in the industry today, I do like my shooters. In fact, I daresay FPS is one of my favorite genres, and Killzone is undoubtedly one of my favorite franchises. I wasn’t overly enamored with Shadow Fall, but that’s mostly because my expectations were substantially higher, as it was a PlayStation 4 launch title. So, when I got the chance to check out the Intercept DLC (which will be released as a standalone expansion later this year), I didn’t groan.
We’re talking about cooperative play, and that’s really the only mode that will get me online these days. I really enjoy teaming up with a bunch of like-minded, equally determined individuals, and facing down the enemy. Intercept gives you a squad of four players, who must hold three locations to complete a certain mission. There are four maps and four classes and while this may not sound like much, this add-on experience does feel fresh and interesting. It adds a much-needed dose of variety to the multiplayer component, and experimenting with each class is always tons o’ fun.
The only problem is that each of the four classes must be occupied before you can set out. So, if nobody wants to play as the Medic, for example, you’re going to sit in the lobby for a while. But once you’ve got your team assembled, the combination of the Assault, Marksman, Tactician and Medic classes makes for a diverse, dynamic teamwork experience. It really seems like each class always has an important role to play; at no point did any of these classes feel useless or underpowered. Granted, each class has its inherent strengths and weaknesses, but they’re all relatively well-balanced and ultimately quite effective (if utilized correctly).
You can unlock more weapons and gadgets the more you stick with one particular class, which is what I would recommend. It’s always better to become an expert in a certain field as opposed to a jack-of-all-trades, who is merely average or competent at everything. The Assault class is basically like the all-around soldier, while the Tactician can deploy shields and turrets. The Marksman and Medic are self-explanatory, right? Once the team is ready, the target goal for the match is selected – 1,500, 3,000 or 10,000 points – and these points are earned by holding positions, ala Domination. It’s straightforward but there are a few twists.
For instance, there’s a new banking system of sorts: While all players earn points by killing Helghans, they still have to cash them in at a specific place to add to the team’s overall score. If you die before contributing those points, those points are gone forever. Each respawn costs the team 50 points so it’s in your best interest to be cautious and strategic. If you succeed in delivering a certain number of points, you can then snag a capacitor that can be used to bring goodies into battle: Jetpacks, turrets, and even airstrikes are on the agenda. I like any gameplay mechanic that awards the calm, cool and collected approach, and that’s what we get with the Intercept DLC.
Different enemy types pop up during combat, which offer a nice change of pace to the standard Helghan foe. The maps are very well designed, too, and I never found myself sticking with only one or two. It’s true that having only four maps and four classes may disappoint some gamers, who will claim this expansion is lacking in compelling content. I won’t argue the point because the amount of expected content is bound to vary from person to person. If you’ve got the Season Pass, you shouldn’t complain because this comes at no extra cost. With no Season Pass, it’ll cost you $9.99. The standalone expansion will be priced at $19.99.
Above all else, the expansion highlights the game’s inherent strengths. The AI isn’t bad at all, and the various enemy types will continue to utilize different tactics. Remember, your opponents have their own goals; they’re not just running around trying to kill you. I admit that in some ways, the Intercept DLC can feel a little light at times, and gamers continue to demand more from such expansions. That being said, when the overall quality of the production continues to shine through, and those four maps and classes are quite well-developed and presented, and the fun factor is undeniable, I have no choice but to recommend it. Give it a try!
The Good: Still looks fantastic. Competent, even impressive AI and enemy tactics. Nicely designed maps. The new classes are effective and well-balanced. Different enemies keep the game infused with freshness.
The Bad: Getting a game started can take a while if nobody wants to select a certain class. Four maps and four classes may feel limited.
The Ugly: “It’s a pretty solid expansion; nothing ugly here.”
7/1/2014 Ben Dutka